Photographer: Keith W. Churill

Whitefish Point

Paradise, Michigan

Built :  1861 

Construction :  Cylindrical, Steel

Status : Active, Public Access with Museum

Location : Paradise, MI

Height : 42 feet

Access : Car, with parking near the light, Take M-123 to Paradise, MI. Stay heading North on Wire Road for approximately 11 miles.

Photographer: Keith W. Churill

Photographer: Keith W. Churill

Lighthouse History : Located on Whitefish Point, this lighthouse helps to guide ships through what is known as the "Graveyard of the Lakes". Over seventy major shipwrecks have occurred in this area since regular navigation of the Great Lakes began. One of the most famous in the Edmund Fitzgerald lost on November 10, 1975. Unfortunately this lighthouse malfunctioned and went in-operative at the time the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost.

In March of 1847, $5,000 were appropriated for construction of a light at this location. Ebenezer Warner of Sandusky, OH signed a contract on August 21, 1847 to build the light of split stone and/or bricks. The light was completed in late 1848 and placed into service in early 1849 with James B. Van Ranselaer as the keeper. The Copper Harbor Light went into service at the same time with both lights laying claim to being the first on Lake Superior. 

In 1861 the lighthouse was replaced with the current "Iron Pile" tower. This type of light was built to withstand the harsh Winter weather Lake Superior throws her way. The tower has a square tubular base converging into a pyramid shape with diagonal bracing. This skeletal structure supports and stabilizes a 42 foot tall cast iron cylindrical tower with a cast iron watch and lantern room.

The original lamps and reflectors were Winslow and Lewis. In 1857 they were replaced with a Fresnel lens. In 1913 a 1,000 watt Alladin incandescent oil vapor lamp was installed by the Lighthouse Service.

The light was automated in 1970 by the United States Coast Guard.


Photo courtesy of: U.S. Coast Guard


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